Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12Footnote 1 aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. It is about doing more and better with less. It is also about:

  • decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and harms to human health
  • increasing resource efficiency
  • promoting sustainable lifestyles

Canadian ambition under Responsible consumption and production

Canada’s ambition for this goal is to ensure Canadians consume in a sustainable manner. Canada aspires to improve resource consumption and related environmental footprints by promoting more sustainable business models and consumer choices, such as:

It also supports the reduction and sound management of chemicals and waste, and the reduction of food loss and waste.

Canada’s target is for zero-emission vehicles to represent 100% of new light duty vehicle sales by 2035, with interim targets of at least 20% by 2026, and at least 60% by 2030.

Canadian Indicator Framework

In collaboration with federal departments and agencies, Statistics Canada has developed the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) for the Sustainable Development Goals. The CIF includes 76 indicators specific to Canada, which measure progress using a set of nationally relevant, objective and comprehensive indicators. CIF indicators for SDG 12 are:

  • Proportion of new light duty vehicle registrations that are zero-emission vehicles
  • Proportion of businesses that adopted selected environmental protection activities and management practices
  • Total waste diversion per capita

What we are doing to support responsible consumption and production in Canada

The Government of Canada is working with all levels of government, industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and Canadians to take action on plastic waste and pollution to meet Canada’s target of zero plastic waste by 2030. Important aspects of this agenda include: 

The Government of Canada is also making it easier for Canadians to choose cleaner technologies, such as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by:

  • helping Canadians and Canadian businesses overcome the higher upfront purchase price of ZEVs through the federal Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program, which provides a purchase incentive of up to $5,000 on eligible ZEVs
  • promoting the transition towards ZEV production in Canada's automotive sector by offering a 50% corporate tax cut for businesses manufacturing ZEVs and ZEV components in Canada

Launched in 2019 by the Government of Canada, the first ever Food Policy for Canada:

  • has a vision that all Canadians are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food
  • seeks to support a food system that is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment and supports our economy

As part of implementing the Food Policy for Canada, the Government of Canada launched the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. The Challenge was a call for innovators to deliver game-changing solutions to the long-standing and complex issue of food loss and food waste.

The Government of Canada is working to ensure sustainable consumption and production through a number of other initiatives, including by:

  • integrating sustainability and life-cycle assessment principles in procurement policies and practices, including the Government’s supply chain, through the Greening Government Strategy
  • providing consumers with information and tools they need to be able to practice informed sustainable consumption. By empowering consumers with information, the Office of Consumer Affairs is supporting voluntary action to reduce environmental impacts and promote clean growth

Through the Chemicals Management Plan, the Government of Canada works with domestic and international partners to reduce the risks posed to Canadians and the environment by exposure to harmful substances.

The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan is positioning Canada to be a reliable, sustainable, and responsible source of the minerals and metals essential to clean energy technology applications, including solar, wind, battery energy storage, and hydrogen.

What Canada is doing to support responsible consumption and production abroad

Canada hosted the World Circular Economy Forum 2021 virtually with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in September 2021, in collaboration with partner organizations. The Forum focussed on identifying concrete actions, or ‘game changers’, that can be taken over the next 5 years by businesses, policy makers, civil society and others, to support system-level change and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Since its launch in 2018, Canada has spearheaded the Ocean Plastics Charter. The Charter is the only global framework that asks government, business and organization signatories to take a resource-efficient lifecycle management approach to plastic waste. The Charter currently has almost 30 government and over 70 business and organization endorsees from around the globe.

To advance the objectives of the Ocean Plastics Charter, Canada is delivering $100 million through key international partners such as the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the Incubator Network. This funding is delivered to:

  • address plastic waste in developing countries
  • spark innovation to beat plastic pollution
  • support innovative private-public partnerships

Canada works with the G7, G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Resource Panel, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other international stakeholders on issues related to resource efficiency and the circular economy.

Canada has made a number of G7 commitments in this area, including:

Within the G20, Canada adopted the 2017 G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter and the 2019 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter.

Canada participates in the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue to exchange information on circular and resource efficiency policies, as well as best practices for resource efficiency. Canada is also a member of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

As well, Canada has participated in work to advance the broader circular economy with government, business and civil society stakeholders through the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. Canada is also working with international partners at the IMO in the implementation of the Action Plan to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships.

With respect to chemicals management, Canada collaborates with other jurisdictions and international organizations to strengthen protections for Canadians and the environment. These activities also aim to:

  • promote and improve the sound management of chemicals globally
  • provide expert policy, technical and scientific support
  • provide guidance and advice on chemicals and air, water and soil pollution, including health and environmental impacts of chemicals

This is done through leadership roles or participation in:

Canada also works to ensure that chemical production, use, distribution, consumption and disposal are included in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. This is done to ensure that the global scope of products and processes that Canadians depend on do not adversely affect their health or environment.

Finally, during the 2021 G7 Climate and Environment Ministers’ Meeting, Canada announced its support for establishing a new legally-binding global agreement on plastics. Building on our continued efforts to champion the Ocean Plastics Charter, and promoting the transition to a circular economy, Canada looks forward to working inclusively with all countries and partners towards achieving an ambitious and robust outcome on this issue under the UN Environment Assembly in February 2022.

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